Common Core or what?

Jun. 07, 2014 @ 04:12 PM

This week the North Carolina House and Senate passed similar bills to replace the Common Core standards with another set of standards for education. 

The Common Core State Standards, mostly referred to as the Common Core, started in 2009 when state school chiefs and governors coordinated state-led efforts to develop the standards, according to the official website. 

They were designed through collaboration among teachers, school chiefs, administrators and other experts to provide a clear and consistent framework for educators. The standards were adopted by 43 states, though other states have been re-examining the standards as North Carolina has done. 

The standards apply to math and English (language arts/literacy). However, they have become controversial in recent years, with some people arguing that the standards are watered down for all schools, others saying they were implemented without the inclusion of teachers and more.

There is also a concern among many that the federal government will take over the Common Core or it will result in a national database of student information. The Common Core official website states that Common Core “was and will remain” a state-led effort and that there are no data-collection requirements. 

The website also noted that the Common Core is not a curriculum, but a set of standards and goals. 

Earlier this year, a task force was created to examine the Common Core standards in North Carolina and decide whether or not to implement new standards. Rep. Craig Horn, R-68, was on the committee. 

Horn voted to replace the standards. He said in a statement in April that he supports the idea of standards and the Common Core standards, but felt the program as a whole was not right for North Carolina. 

Gov. Pat McCrory said in an interview Monday that he was working with legislators about the Common Core.

“I don’t think the real issue is Common Core,” he said. He added that he thought the real issue is testing, either bad tests or too many tests. 

He said he planned to have conversations about how to revise testing. 

He said he thought there was confusion between the concept of Common Core and standards and testing. 

“I anticipate very positive conversations,” he said. 

He noted that if they are going to replace something, they need to know what they are replacing it with. 

The bill passed by the Senate this week directs the State Board of Education to “adopt and modify” state standards. The standards adopted by the state board will be called the “North Carolina Standard Course of Study.”

The bill directs the state board to conduct a review of English and math standards and propose modifications to increase students’ level of academic achievement, meet and reflect North Carolina’s priorities, that are age-level and developmentally appropriate, that are understandable to parents and teachers and will be among the highest standards in the nation. 

The bill has not yet been signed by the Governor.